bin Laden driver gets 5 1/2 years

August 7, 2008 1:04:57 PM PDT
A military jury sentenced Osama bin Laden's former driver to 5 1/2 years in prison for aiding terrorism Thursday, making him eligible for release in just six months, despite prosecutors' pleas to give him no less than 30 years. Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who had faced a maximum sentence of life behind bars, gets credit for five years already served at Guantanamo Bay. He thanked the jurors for the sentence and repeated an apology for having served bin Laden.

"I would like to apologize one more time to all the members and I would like to thank you for what you have done for me," Hamdan told the panel of six U.S. military officers, hand-picked by the Pentagon for the first U.S. war crimes trial in a half century.

The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, said he did not know what would happen to Hamdan once his sentence is complete, but said he would likely be eligible for the same administrative review process as other prisoners.